Work In Progress

Irina Lessne
6 min readNov 5, 2020

The door was wrenched opened, and the ghost of Caroline’s past filled her lungs with cold, nostalgic air. The scent of her childhood was welcoming and smelled of simpler times. Home cooked macaroni and cheese wafted through the air and left the girl intoxicated but yearning for more. She was home, but something didn’t feel quite right. She clicked her heels three times and while her body had been transported back to where she grew up, her mind was elsewhere, stuck in a sort of dance far away, a tango moving one step forward and two steps back. Someone unfamiliar was in the house and it didn’t take long for the girl to become very confused. She let her backpack roll off of her shoulders and headed towards the kitchen. As she entered, she was amazed as to what she found. There was her mother, just as she’d remembered her, even after all these years. Besides her, however, was a stranger…a stranger who was a carbon copy of the girl. She was five feet, two inches tall with an athletic build and perfectly coiled chestnut curls that hugged the frame of her youthful face. She had freckles in all the right places and dimples that made her mouth appear a little bit mischievous which were present even when her face was expressionless. She shared the girl’s charisma and charm and even stood in a similar fashion, with her foot turned outward and her hands resting on her hips.

“Caroline, honey,” said her mother, “I know this might sound crazy, but I want you to listen to me.”

Caroline listened, though whispers of tears welled up in her eyes.

“This is your twin sister.”

Her mouth dropped. What else was her mother hiding from her?

Only time would tell.

“I’m sorry, but this can’t possibly be” said Caroline to her mother, now beginning to internally question everything she has known about her past, her mother and everything in between.

“Honey,” said her mother, Lilah. “It was so long ago, and I thought I’d never have to bring this up to you. Not like this. Not now. Not ever.”

Caroline felt her face get hot and she noticed that tears were welling up in her eyes, even though she was not sad. She was furious. These were tears of rage, of anger and of distrust. How could her mother keep this from her for her entire life? How could she keep such a big secret from her daughter, who was her life, her world, her everything? She felt like running off to her room to process all of this, but instead she chose to stay and ask her mother about the life she chose to ignore for so long.

“How could you do this to me,” whispered Caroline, under her breath. “How could you keep such a huge secret and just assume I’d be okay with walking into the kitchen after being away for so long to find my mirror image looking back at me?”

“Caroline, it’s not like that. I wanted to tell you when the timing was right. I, uh, just didn’t know you’d be coming home today.”

“How could you not know,” stammered Caroline? You KNEW I was coming home to celebrate MY birthday, and this is what I come home to?”

Secrets and lies.

Lies and secrets.

“Caroline, please listen to me. I know you’re upset. I get it. But please let me explain before you jump to hasty conclusions.”

Caroline didn’t want to listen. She didn’t want to understand. She wanted to be angry with her mother and feel those cold, raw feelings. She didn’t want to embrace her “sister” and just pretend everything was fine and dandy. She took a deep breath and decided, however, to let her mother reason with her…even if only for a moment.

Caroline sighed.

“Okay, mom. Go ahead. I’ll listen.”

Caroline’s mother looked at her daughter with admiration. She reached her nimble hand to her daughter’s chestnut locks and wiped the trickle of a tear from her eye.

“Thank you, love. Now, why don’t you make a cup of coffee and sit down at the table. I have a lot to tell you.”

Caroline did as she was told. Sure, her mother had a lot to get off of her chest and unveil about her past, but so did Caroline.

She wasn’t the angelic little girl she once was. She decided she’d let her mother tell her story, before divulging her own secrets.

That was for another day.

Option 1:

Eventually, Caroline’s mind calmed down and her world stopped spinning in circles. She inhaled the promise of a new day and exhaled the stress from the one she had just experienced. As her eyes fluttered closed, she hummed one of her favorite songs, “All Will Be Well” by The Gabe Dixon Band, and then fell into a deep slumber. The night was angry, but Caroline slept. Trees whipped back and forth, and wind whistled wonderfully through the starry, restless night. But still Caroline slept. She dreamt of new opportunities in her future, and of success being at the tips of her fingers, but still being a bit too slippery and slightly out of reach. The wind howled hauntingly but Caroline was in another land, another dimension, where reality and illusion intermingled to create a sort of game where Caroline was the pawn and her job was to navigate her way through a maze of uncertainty. Still, she preferred this world to the one she had just been thrust into by her dear, dear mother. Her eyelids fluttered, but she was in a trance, deep in sleep and in a place where the realities of the physical world could not harm her. She loved this time of being alive but of not really living, of having a purpose but not having a place to go. She was free of the thoughts that weighed her down, thoughts that felt like barbed wire penetrating paper skin. She could breathe. And suddenly, and perhaps unfortunately, she was transported back to the place where thoughts fester and where time tells us lies. She returned to the place, to the bed, to the home she grew up in, to the place that should bring her immense comfort, but instead now brings her anguish. She’s alive, but is she living? She breathes cold breaths and droplets of spit moisten the corners of her cherub lips. She’s returned to the place where thoughts are laid to rest and where imagination has no limitation. She shakes the cobwebs from in between the crevices of her cranium and sits up in bed, catching one mere moment of pure bliss, before the weight of her world would soon come crashing down.

Option 2:

Caroline couldn’t sleep. How could she? Her whole world had been flipped upside down and she felt like she was drowning under the weight of the water that had threatened to compromise her life. She tossed and turned and while her eyes ached with the serenity of sleep, her mind was racing. How could her mother drop such a huge bomb on her, especially at a time when she was so very vulnerable? How could she just assume that her daughter would magically be okay with the fact that she had an identical twin sister, let alone a sister at all? For this, she felt a pang of anger, of potentially even slight hatred towards her mother. Caroline thought of all the Christmas photos filled with sugar coated smiles, and well wishes from her family of 3. All of a sudden, her happy little family became one fraught with falsehoods and empty promises. 21 years of lies, and secrets, exposed. Caroline decided she wouldn’t be “okay” with this. She wouldn’t accept her sister as her own, no matter how hard her mom begged her. She wanted to harbor these good, mad, feelings a little more. Caroline had been through enough as it was; did she really need another secret thrust on top the throne of lies her family had built? No. What she needed was space to breathe, a chance to grip back onto reality, and maybe a hard shot of some sort of liquor she knew she would regret, later. Caroline wanted to scream, she wanted to hit something, but instead, she pulled herself together and wiped the whisper of a tear from her eye, and pulled out her journal and favorite purple pen. She began to write.

I can’t believe this.

No, I REALLY can’t believe this.

Mom has been keeping Willow…no, I dare to speak her name…I mean, HER…a secret from me, my whole freaking life.

Is this a joke?

How the hell does she just assume I’m okay with life as I knew it, disintegrating into thin air?

I don’t want to know her. I don’t want to understand. I want to hate my sister.

But, how can I hate someone I don’t even know?

How can I dislike someone who shares my characteristics?

How can I detest the fact that she exists, even though I know she had no choice in having been born?

I’m being ridiculous.

I need to learn to love her.

I need to learn to forgive my mother.

But first,

I need to learn to forgive myself.




Irina Lessne

Just a girl with a cup of coffee in one hand and a notebook in the other hoping to make an impact in the world